Drama at LUK endurance race

2011-11-22 11:28

The annual LUK endurance event attracts an ever increasing number of sports cars and saw international stars teamed up with local drivers in a grueling three hour race.

John Amm, a veteran of the 1960s and 70s nine hour event shared Eric Soloman’s Lotus 23. Mike Briggs, regular winner of the Group N Castrol nine hour races, shared the Walker family’s Shelby Can-AM. Brigg's former team mate, Neil Stephen drove his modified Golf and shared a garage with Sparky Bright, feverishly working on his son’s troublesome Lotus 7.
Briggs claimed pole position in his Shelby Can Am, ahead of Fritz Kleinhans, Stuart Mack/Ian Smith. The Lotus 7 team of Chassen Bright, ahead of Hennie Trollip claimed fourth and fifth place.
Geoff Stephen outpaced his rival sedans and Steven Murphy headed up the classic cars in his Alfetta replica.
Wayne Wilson, Nissan Maxima, tangled with Gavin McClelland’s Lotus 7, which sadly saw both cars retiring from the race.
Stuart Mac was forced to refuel, as did the Kleynhans Shelby, while Amm moved up to second place overall at the one hour mark, a lap clear of third place Trollip and Dunn.
Stephen had a comfortable lead and was in sixth place overall after one hour.
Drama began to unfold as the floodlights switched on, with Graham Twiss having to kick out a shattered windscreen. Nic Walker brought the leading Briggs/Walker Shelby in for an unscheduled pit stop and was forced to retire before the halfway mark.
The Murphy/van Heerden Alfa dominated the historic car class.

Amm brought his Lotus in at the 01hour35min mark and Eric Soloman took over driving. Stuat Mac took advantage of a safety car and scored a “free pitstop”, putting their Shelby back in contention, while Trollip and Dunn worked their way up to second place overall.
Jono Stephen was battling with his Golf, which begun to show signs of a slipping clutch.
The final laps proved to be a nail biter as Eric Soloman made an unscheduled pitstop due to illness.

Trollip pounced on the opportunity to take the lead while Amm had to send Dave Sinclair out with Lotus, as he had already driven his full quota of permissible driving time.


As Sinclair was closing in on Trollip's Lotus 7 more track drama struck with eleven minutes to go. Quinsley Sale’s Nissan Skyline lost a wheel and stalled on the track at the Goodyear corner. Sale then abandoned the vehicle on the track.
The battling duo of Neil Stephen and the Meiring/v.d Merwe/Potgieter Lotus 7 were first onto the scene, neither of them spotted the stricken Skyline.

Potgieter narrowly avoided it, but Stephen hit the Skyline head on.

The debris was extensive and drivers finished the race behind the pace car, with Trollip and Dunn being rewarded for their consistency. Amm and Soloman came in second place as they watched helplessly as the laps ticked away, with Stuart Mac/Ian Smith  taking third in the Shelby.
The Stephen family were elated to find that they still won the sedan car category, just ahead of Peter Twiss in the Rainbow Golf. In the historics category, Steve Murphy/Johan van Heerden scored a win for Alfa Romeo. The pair beat Ford drivers Graham Twiss/Dave Hawkins/Johan de Souze in the Anglia sans windscreen, ahead of the Brendon Smith/Barry Spriggs Escort.